Do your employees know whether they are doing a good job? It seems like a simple question, but the fact is, providing employees with detailed, useful feedback is hard work. All too often, performance reviews fall by the wayside because other business activities are given a higher priority. Surveys report that 90% of managers strongly dislike giving employees formal performance feedback. Despite the queasiness you may experience, the feedback process is essential to retain good employees, help employees to improve their on-the-job performance, and address poor performers.
The feedback process works best when it is formalized and standardized. We all shy away from giving negative feedback, and we often get too busy to even give positive feedback. Formalizing the process will hold you accountable to provide your employees valuable performance feedback. It also documents the feedback creates a history of the employee’s job performance. Should you ever need to discipline or fire an employee, this performance documentation will be essential in justifying your actions in any employment-related legal action.
Providing accurate feedback to your staff gives you the opportunity to develop specific goals and to create a plan for achieving them. By accurately assessing the employees’ strengths and their areas of improvement you can work with the individuals to identify improvement efforts.
Here are some best practices for implementing a performance feedback process:
Use a Performance Feedback Form
Formalize your feedback process by using a consistent form. It should describe five to ten performance dimensions—or areas to be evaluated—such as attendance, quality of work, attitude, and customer service skills. These dimensions should correspond to the job requirements on the employee’s job description. The form should include both a numerical rating scale and a space for comments about the individual’s performance. The form should also list the date of the review and have space for you and the employee to sign the form. Keep a signed copy of the form in the employee’s personnel file. You can find sample forms by searching Human Resources sites online or in the business section of your local bookstore.
Have a Feedback Discussion
After you have completed the feedback form, schedule a one-on-one meeting with the employee. Block out at least 30 minutes where you will have no interruptions. Practice in advance what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. During the meeting, give the employee an opportunity to respond to your feedback.